Editorial's premise faulty

Your editorial of Tuesday, March 14, suggesting that bringing more buildable land into Ashland's urban growth boundary will lead to more affordable housing is, in my opinion, based on a faulty premise.

When I was employed at Metro (the Portland area's regional planning agency) in the late '80s and early '90s, we worked on a major expansion of the Portland area's urban growth boundary (UGB). The Homebuilder's Association offered the same argument as the Tidings: More land will lead to lower land prices and then to more affordable housing. This major UGB expansion was eventually approved, but instead of lower prices, the price of the newly included land immediately rose to the same level as the land already inside the UGB. The price hikes actually began even before the boundary was expanded, as speculators began buying up land that was under consideration for inclusion.

I agree with the Tidings that Ashland needs more land for housing. But the Metro experience shows that it is not reasonable to expect that more land necessarily equals lower land prices and more affordable housing.

Dave Kanner